by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Pursue fitness with intention and reach your goals …
Setting goals is an excellent way to achieve hopes and dreams. To make progress, experts recommend you journey toward goals with specific purpose. In doing so, you succeed at living with purpose—which beats going through life mindlessly hurdling chores and activities.
Set your inner compass, and live according to your aspirations. You may find it easier to increase those reps, resist that pie, and nurture a bunch of other stuff that means tons to you.
A Healthy Purpose
When we prioritize our health, we succeed at obtaining true wellness. You can, and should, have other life intentions. However, cultivating a healthy lifestyle is the foundation that allows you to pursue other purposes in your life. Here are three scientifically proven ways to live with purpose. And since our purpose is to inspire you to improved health and fitness, we’re focusing here on the purpose of achieving your healthiest life.
1. Engage with Intention
Studies show you can activate your brain to accomplish challenges with less effort. Focus on your core values. By doing this, you continuously remind yourself of the reasons for your action. When faced with short-term unpleasantness, this mentality will help you remain steadfast. This thought process helps you abandon your warm bed for an early workout, avoid lunchroom donuts, and schedule an eye exam. All these are purposeful actions that lead to achieving a healthful life.
Researchers have proven when you observe another’s movement with the purpose of being able to repeat it, you stimulate your brain for better concentration and absorption. This approach is especially helpful on the Fitness Floor or during a Group Fitness class. Your purposeful observations will be rewarded by powering up your fitness performance. Being able to mimic well-executed exercises—because you observed with the intention of doing this– can improve your training session, fitness class, or other workout.
2. Get Personal
As you focus on your core values, know their unique meaning to you. Beyond acknowledging a workout’s organic importance, recognize its significance in your life—increased energy for those pick-up games you love or longevity to spend more time with grandkids. Turning inward captures each intention’s personal impact on your life.
This helps you achieve the short-term goals necessary for long-term results. It propels you beyond the present moment to act on the greater importance of your ideals. This big-picture thinking offers a reward greater than the one in hand (for example, skipping the workout to channel surf).
Scenario: You are out with friends and it’s getting late. Although you are having fun, staying later will negatively impact the next day by resulting in a major sleep deficit. You will be too tired to manage tomorrow’s workout and activities with your kids. This threatens two of your core values: your health and family time.
You decide to leave. The instant gratification of enjoying a later night is replaced by the importance of your long-term reward. Your personally defined purpose wins, and you grow one step closer to the person you want to be.
This applies to weight loss, improving cholesterol, eating healthy, and any other habit you wish to cultivate to reinforce or create your ideal self. (In the previous scenario, that would be a fit person and energetic parent.)
To do something with purpose requires thought. Your efforts will be more productive if you initially spend time determining specific intentions. When creating a fitness program, anyone can put together a generic assortment of exercises applicable to a variety of goals. However, to give your workout purpose, you need to approach those exercises with intent. Taking it to this next level helps achieve the long-term commitment, fulfillment, and enjoyment that turns a fitness program into a healthy lifestyle.
Ask yourself questions. Contemplate the answers. Determine the best way to achieve your goals. Self-reflection helps you recognize your unique motivating factors. Then, share them with a trainer or instructor. S/he can use your heightened self-knowledge to create a purposeful workout, one that has unique meaning to you and the body and mind you wish to sculpt.
Go forth in pursuit of your purpose.
“Living on Purpose,” by Brad Klontz at PsychologyToday.com.
“Setting Goals Isn’t Enough: Setting Daily Intentions Will Change Your Life,” by Marla Tabaka at inc.com.
“The Best of Intentions,” by Shelley Levitt, Live Happy, October 2017.